6 unique holiday activities not to miss this season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Chicago and it’s time to make some holiday memories with your family. If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for something new to do. Lucky for us, we have so many holiday memory making experiences around us. But if you’re looking to try something new, here are some unique ideas. 

Enjoy amusement fun.

When: Through Dec. 16 (Weekends)

Where: Santa’s Village Amusement Park, 601 Dundee Ave., East Dundee

It’s always Christmastime at Santa’s Village Amusement Park but during Magical Christmas Days it’s, you guessed it, more magical! Not only will you see Santa and more than a half million lights, but many of the rides will be up and running. Just make sure to bundle up!

Hang out with Santa in his suite.

When: Through Dec. 23

Where: Swissotel Chicago, 323 E. Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago

Do you know where Santa stays while he is in town? At Swissotel Chicago’s Santa Suite, of course! Families are invited to hang out at his home away from the North Pole, with fun activities like face painting, creating with crafts, writing letters to Santa and of course, seeing Jolly Old Saint Nick. Since Santa’s involved, you’ll be sure to find plenty of cookies, desserts, candy, a hot chocolate bar and more. Exploring his festively decorated Suite has little surprises everywhere you turn including more than 16 trees reflecting a different culture, Santa’s office, his bedroom, and his closet holding his suit and boots, and of course, candy at every corner (literally)! We had the most amazing experience!

Visit Santa HQ.

When: Through Dec. 24

Where: Fashion Outlets Chicago, 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont

Experience Santa’s Workshop and Observatory like never before by using augmented reality at Santa HQ. Be the star in your own holiday video in an Elfie Selfie, determine if you’ve truly been naughty or nice as you stand on the Naughty or Nice O’Meter or transform into one of Santa’s Elves. At the end of your interactive visit, you’ll meet none other than the jolly old man himself.

Watch trees illuminate.

When: Through Jan. 1

Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle

Be amazed as you walk and experience Illumination: Tree Lights’ wooded one-mile path as they glow in electrifying hues of blue, green, purple, and magenta. Along the way, you’ll find unique experiences like watching trees dance to The Nutcracker’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy or even hugging a tree. Illumination is the perfect combo of nature and technology infused with the holiday spirit.

Combine the holidays with the circus

When: Dec. 12-16

Where: The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago

We have no shortage of holiday shows in the area, but how many can combine jaw-dropping acts found only in a circus infused with holiday cheer? Cirque Dreams Holidaze comes to the Chicago Theatre and families can expect to find their favorite holiday characters performing in ways they’ve never seen before. Plus, how often can you witness Santa fly?

Enjoy pop-up fun for families.

When: Dec. 15-16 

Where: 947 W. Roscoe, at the corner of Roscoe and Clark

The latest pop-up experience heads to Wrigleyville this season with Wrigleyville Winter Wonderland. The main highlight will be the four heated snow domes each with a different theme. Santa’s Workshop will have Santa ready for photos. Santa’s Surf Shack is his beach getaway when he isn’t at the North Pole. Visit the North Pole at the Ice Cave and see Christmas Wonderland to celebrate all things Christmas. The weekend will also include activities around the neighborhood sure to bring holiday cheer.


Follow Cheryl’s family adventures at O the Places We Go.

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